My mum phones me from Sydney the other day. “It’s sooooo hot,’’ she moans.
“The air is so humid, I can’t even go outside!
“I’ve shut up the whole house and closed all the blinds to keep it cool.
“I couldn’t use the oven, it made the house too hot.
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[Ed’s note, at the time of publication the temperature in Sydney was 38 degrees and rising.]
One day with the mercury set to rise above 40 and Sydney is awash with panic the moaning can be heard all the way here in the Outback. Facebook and Twitter is jammed with people’s personal accounts of their preparations to beat the heat almost like Heat Survival plan for one day.
Out here in Broken Hill a day over 40 is the norm this summer we’re in the middle of a 10 day stretch with temperatures over 40. I’m Sydney born and bred and now live in Broken Hill. I just happen to have landed in Broken Hill in the middle of one of their hottest summers ever so I reckon I can speak with some authority about heat.
Let me tell you Sydney about real heat. Real heat is when you wake up at 2am drenched in sweat and you check the temperature and it’s a balmy 35 degrees.
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The Daily Mail reports that the UK Met Office’s Hadley Research Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Centre – who jointly monitor climate data – have posted data on its website that showed there has been no global warming over the past 16 years.
‘Hallelujah! Mankind not headed for carbongeddon after all’ reads CRU – Met Office joint media release. Met Office joyfully proclaims the ‘British Isles will not sink’. Hooray!
Desperate for some good news the White House’s Jay Carney rushes before press corps to announce breathlessly, ‘Obama’s pledge to heal planet working’. UN announces disbandment of ‘humourless white-coated guys who measure stuff’. In Australia, Treasurer Wayne Swan announces all carbon taxes will be refunded. Huzzah! The Greens have a collective aneurysm.
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Remember the Kyoto Protocol? The only international legally binding framework the world has to reduce emissions? Signing it, to much fanfare, was Labor’s first significant act after being swept to victory in 2007. It signalled Australia’s willingness to finally join international action to fight climate change.
Now, the first incarnation of Kyoto is about to come to its end, but that fight is far from over. A second phase of the Kyoto Protocol would pave the way to a more ambitious and inclusive global climate treaty, which is what we desperately need if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.
While the Government has copped a hammering on many fronts in recent years, the decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol remains popular, according to polling released last week by WWF. The Opposition’s climate change spokesman Greg Hunt also is now on the record as saying his party supports signing on to the next phase.
There’s a curious silence today so far today on many of the regular climate change denier websites, concerning a story which has been the most clicked yarn on news.com.au for much of the day.
An Australian scientist drilling into Antarctic ice cores has found that 8000 years worth of natural CO2 increases have occurred in just 200 years since the start of the industrial revolution.
In other words, we’re spewing out CO2 at unprecedented rates. As the glaciologist behind the study, Joel Pedro says: “Just as the steady increase in CO2 helped to melt the ice caps and warm the earth out of the ice age, the rapid increase now in CO2 is also driving up temperatures, only at a much faster rate”.
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Each of us has childhood memories of exploring and enjoying the unique Australian environment. From the beach to the backyard, surely it is the great outdoors that unites us all.
It may have been beach fishing on a windswept, majestic Moreton Island as a teen, as I experienced, or something as simple as family time spent in the backyard of the ramshackle beach house that so many of us seemed to have. Either way, all Australians have an abiding love of these special youthful memories of the natural world. We must fight to preserve these experiences. Not so much for ourselves, but for the youngest among us and those yet to be born, who are still to have their special moments outdoors in Australia.
As the threat of climate change grows greater and more imminent, we need to remember what it is we are acting to protect for future generations.
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Dylan Malloch laments that understanding climate change is difficult, with the forecasts sometimes appearing to be contradictory or having a bit both ways, and therefore seeming all rather confusing! It’s easy to sympathise with him. Unfortunately, this is the nature of science.
Let’s consider another example. Newton’s laws of physics work just fine for the everyday world, but if we tried to use them in the timing system of our global positioning satellites, the resulting drift error would be about 10 kilometres every day.
So, the engineers at GPS mission control need to use Einstein’s relativistic theories to make sure your iPhone tells you precisely where you are, whenever you want to know. Similarly, neither Newton’s or Einstein’s equations allow scientists to properly predict the subatomic interactions within the electronics of satellites or iPhones. For that, you need to reference the weird world of quantum mechanics.
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What started as a ripple is now growing into a powerful protest wave sweeping across our great nation.
In the space of a week, it has been fed by a series of fiery meetings in outback Queensland and southern States, a symbolic funeral service in Perth and gatherings in Brisbane and Melbourne.
At first glance these might seem unrelated, but beneath the surface they are connected by a strong under current of people pushed to the limits. The Perth “funeral” on the steps of Parliament House involved the “death” of property rights, complete with wreath laying, a piper in full regalia and a cortege to Cottesloe Beach for symbolic burial.
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Welcome to Monday @ The Punch
Today in 2001 an Indonesian fishing boat carrying 440 asylum seekers sinks en-route to Christmas Island. The event led to the loss of 353 lives.
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August 2009 was Australia’s warmest on record. Temperatures averaged over the country were 2.47C above the long-term average, nearly a degree above the previous August record set in 1998, and 25% of the country had its hottest August day on record at some stage during the month.
Some places, such as Collarenebri and Murwillumbah in NSW and Gatton in Queensland, broke their previous August records by 5C or more. Temperatures reached as high as 37.8C at Mungindi in NSW and 38.5C at Bedourie in Queensland, both of which were all-time state records for August.
Such an exceptional month leads to many people to ask: is this climate change?
Read all about it
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